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Candice Rennels | (405) 425-0298 |

OKC Zoo News Releases



Join the Oklahoma City Zoo and Gayla Peevey for a wildly fun event that celebrates the 65th anniversary of the popular holiday song, “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas”.

Thursday, November 29, from 11-11:30 a.m.

OKC Zoo’s Rosser Education Conservation Center Auditorium; streaming on Facebook Live. Guests can park and enter through the education center located at the east end of the Zoo’s parking lot. The auditorium will be open by 10:30 a.m. for seating.

This year marks the 65th anniversary of “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” and to commemorate the occasion, we are bringing Gayla Peevey back to the OKC Zoo for a live performance. Yes, this seasonal melody about the perfect holiday present (a hippo!) has a unique connection to the Oklahoma City Zoo. Recorded in 1953, by Oklahoma City native Gayla, “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” was inspiration for getting the OKC Zoo its first hippopotamus (and, of course, a hippo for Gayla!). This event is free for all ages. Seating is limited and first-come, first-serve. Zoo admission not required to participate.

In addition to leading the sing-along, Gayla will also share some of her childhood memories of Oklahoma City, the Zoo and her global connection to the “hippo” song:

On Tuesday, November 27, 2018, Gayla is being inducted into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame for her cultural contributions to our state’s history.

Last year, the City of Oklahoma City proclaimed December 9, 2017 to be “Gayla Peevey Day”.

In 1953, Oklahoma children raised money to buy a hippo for Gayla, who presented a Nile hippopotamus named Mathilda to the Oklahoma City Zoo on Christmas Eve.

The OKC Zoo is currently home to pygmy hippo Wolee, 44, the second oldest pygmy hippo living in North American zoo populations. Wolee came to the Zoo in 1999 and is located in the Pachyderm habitat. 

Shopping for a hippo fan this year? The OKC Zoo is offering a special Pygmy Hippo Limited Edition animal adoption package ($100) that includes a pygmy hippo plush, adoption certificate, online name recognition, pygmy hippo fact sheet, OKC Zoo canvas tote, two OKC Zoo general admission tickets, a postcard autographed by Gayla Peevey and a T-shirt commemorating the 65th Anniversary of Gayla’s iconic “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” hit song (limited quantities, T-shirt exclusively available with package). Proceeds from the Pygmy Hippo Limited Edition package will benefit the Zoological Society of London’s pygmy hippo conservation efforts. The Pygmy Hippo Limited Edition package will be available starting Saturday, December 1 at the Zoo.

It's that time for year for spreading hippo cheer! Located at the crossroads of I-44 and I-35, the Oklahoma City Zoo is a proud member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the American Alliance of Museums, Oklahoma City’s Adventure District and an Adventure Road partner. Hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Regular admission is $11 for adults and $8 for children ages 3-11 and seniors ages 65 and over. Children two and under are admitted free. Stay up-to-date with the Zoo on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and by visiting Our Stories. Zoo fans can support the OKC Zoo by becoming Oklahoma Zoological Society members at or in-person at the Zoo! To learn more about these and other happenings, call (405) 424-3344 or visit




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